Only for people with low self esteem

Dear reader,

if you are one of those who consider themselves not being self confident, not having very high self esteem and who are experiencing doubts about your skills, abilities, etc., ..

.. this post is for you. If you are fully confident you are one of the best, this post is not for you, so do not keep going.

I’m seeing enormous numbers of clients since September. Men, women, various age, different ethnical groups, social class and definitely different abilities. Before starting to work as a coach and more recently, as a therapist, I worked as a head of tutors for students with disabilities. Hence I met many students. I trained several hundreds of people in numerous groups. Let me tell you a secret.

People I met who were the most capable, special, most skilled, gifted and promising were people, whose self esteem was rather low or very low. These people were full of doubts and very often pretty insecure, quiet and shy.

Their bright minds prohibited them to see their own brilliance, which was probably the reason why others could see and recognise it.

Mass media persuade us high self esteem and self confidence is the key to success. By this we are targeting the belief that we should believe we are something special and that we can do whatever we opt to, no matter what. I think high self esteem is not the key to success and growth. Here’s why.

  • If we believe we are something special and unstoppable, but without moral values concerning the wellbeing of others, we can easily become brutal, heartless and without any internal boundaries. Some of the gangster leaders, brokers, bankers, owners of multinationals are very high in self esteem. Yet only look at what they are doing to our community.
  • Thinking we are special does not necessarily make us special. If you think you can sing, doesn’t necessarily mean you really can.
  • Being content too quickly leads to sloppiness and shallowness. If you are happy with your achievements and inputs of average quality, you are not likely to be heading down the masterpiece route.
  • Yes, it is more likely you will be noticed and yes it is more likely you will have more doors open if you are high in self esteem. Yet if that’s about it for you, people will notice soon enough. And on the long run it doesn’t pay off. You need to demonstrate some real skills then. And they do not develop through nourishing your self esteem.
  • Even if you do have the skills and are truly gifted, having high self esteem can easily drag you into the zone of comfort. This is where you stop being modest and from there you won’t be able to grow any further.

Here’s on the other hand how having low self esteem works for you:

  • You are your worst enemy and no.1 critique. If you do something that you consider good, it is probably a masterpiece.
  • People like spending time in your company, because you can actually listen and are interested in what they have to say, others than talking about yourself
  • You don’t mind being and working alone, because you do not rely on others opinion.
  • When people criticise you, you take their opinion seriously. It might paralyse you for a moment or two, but once you recover, you will improve and get better.
  • The Pareto principle is not for you. Once you go into something, you strive towards perfection. Imagine what a gem you are for the team and to your boss … Imagine having someone like you as a help. Invaluable!

The bottom line: it is much easier to climb a step up and admit to yourself that you actually deserve some of the glory when you truly worked hard for it, than to step down from the pedestal of fake successes you ascribe to yourself. So I am really concerned by this mantra of being super confident, self assured, etc. It leads us to a society of narcissistic, self-reliant individuals. And yet I’m hopeful. Because I see many people. I met and am meeting many people. Many of them are not confident, some not confident at all and have very low self esteem. And this post is a tribute to them – thank you so much for letting me be with you on your remarkable journey and for teaching me this valuable lesson I’m sharing in today’s post! You are and will make this world bright again!




Who Shoud Be Your Best Friend?

Dear reader,

I hope you have a person in your life, your significant other whom you call a friend, perhaps even a best friend. You might even have more than one and that’s fantastic, though also one isn’t too bad.

We are social beings, that goes also for those exceptions who like spending time being alone. Alone doesn’t equal lonely; i.e. with other words, we need others to feel accepted, secure, belonging, to care for them and to be cared for. But there is one catch: human beings are not very reliable and trustworthy, we can never be certain what’s going on in other person’s head and there is no such thing as “forever and ever”, “I promise and I won’t break my promise” or “I will never hurt you”.

Others don’t always behave perfectly. And nor do we. In the end many people die alone. More than half of the marriages end up in a divorce. Best friends forever become worst enemies. Siblings hate each other. And so forth. Yet still we don’t give up and we do look for connection with and to others. Other’s opinion matters. We define ourselves according to social norms, patterns, beliefs and attitudes. We all do it, even though some would not admit and would claim they are unique and don’t care about what others think (I suppose only those who don’t even bother to say anything about this matter really don’t think about it :)).

I’m noticing my inner dialogue and the words I use to talk to myself are sometimes so rude that I wouldn’t even say it out loud to the most toxic person who would actually deserve it. I’m my worst assessor, criticising every single aspect, even the ones that are actually quite fine. With others I can tolerate a lot and can accept mistakes. With me no ways. I accept failure and small steps and even encourage it, but when it comes to me, my demands and standards are literally unreachable. I reward and compliment others constantly, myself rarely. To make it short: I’m my own worst enemy.

Giving I’m an intelligent person, there must be some rationale behind it. And there is: by being your own worst judge, this guarantees you that nobody will criticise you more than you would. Nobody can hurt you more than you can. And that gives you a sense of security and control. Not insane at all.

With just one small missing gap: your inner voice becomes the words you use. Your words then become your thoughts. Your thoughts your actions. And your actions your behaviour. Long term criticism and focusing on what’s missing and what’s not good enough will make these aspects bigger, until there is nothing left but these gaps. You talk yourself into the problems, that can become your narrative and your life story. What a pity to miss all the beautiful aspects and working ones!

So I’m learning to change my inner voice. I still do agree that I should not obey the Pareto principle and not give just 80% if I am capable of giving 100%. But I don’t have to demonstrate more than others. I don’t have to impress. I don’t have to make others like me. I have to make myself like me.

Your relationship with yourself is the only relationship that will last for a lifetime. You will always be there for you, whether you like it or not. Make sure your company is welcoming and supportive. The world is cruel. And beautiful. And the only one that will completely understand what’s going on with you, is you. You are the only expert of your life. So why not being your best friend, your confidant, your nest to rest? Why not trusting your intuition? Why not letting yourself take the leading role of your life? Others surely have lots of plans for you. But it’s your life. And it’s ending one minute at the time, they say.

Sure you have and make mistakes. Who doesn’t? As long as you are alive, you’ll make mistakes. And others will too. And they are your mistakes, your chances to learn. Learning is good. Embrace it. If it’s hard, it means it’s worth it. And it also means you can do it. Your inner self is offering you a hand. Take it and hug yourself. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be yourself. Including every aspect of yours that you are not proud of, including that lazy, fat, broken, damaged, grumpy thing you might have. You won’t make it go away by hating it. Try accepting it as an integral part of you. Your most honest and truthful friend is standing right next to you. It’s always been there for you, yet you didn’t see him or her. 

Your best friend in life is you. And it’s about time you get acquainted with them :). I must say it feels strange, but I’m kinda liking it. And surprise – others like it too!


Picture borrowed from the web. Relax. Nobody’s perfect. Also you don’t have to be – you are already good enough.

I’ll never be good enough (Notes about the Simple Life Part 4)

Dear reader,

a terrible week is behind me. I was absolutely counter productive, procrastinated a whole lot, was upset with people, annoyed by company, yet I felt lonely. All of us experience “the blues” every now and then and it’s horrible.

There were times when I really missed that comforting hug from someone who would not just call when they need me and would simply say: “Hey good job, well done, you don’t have to try so hard. You are already enough.” Instead I started to notice doing myself a harmful thing: comparing to others.

It appeared others are having great times, they are successful, happy, in love, travelling, getting good deals, new opportunities … and all I did was feeling sorry and pity for me, because I wasn’t one of them, my life wasn’t as awesome as theirs.

Though I already knew everything about how useless it is comparing yourself to others, though I knew I am able to change and direct my thoughts, though I knew my achievements are above average and I could easily collect all the evidence needed to confirm this, it didn’t help. I started to question whether I would ever be good enough for me. And the answer was in favour towards no.

In Solution Focused conversations one of the postulates states that if something doesn’t work, do something different. If nothing works, do something COMPLETELY different. And since I was not able to change my state, I needed to do something completely different. Maybe I need to stop trying. Maybe I need to let go of my desire to fix things. Maybe I need to stop needing and stop wanting to want. Maybe I am asking myself a wrong question.

The question: “Will I ever be good enough?” was the wrong question.

Another trait of Solution Focused conversations is focusing on exceptions. When are the times I am not feeling this way or I’m feeling less this way? The answer for me is clear: when I’m with my clients or delivering training or a workshop. Then I’m my best version and I can do these things really well. The proof is, I am quite busy at the moment, because I have six new clients in invidual sessions. All of them are making splendid progress and are experiencing a considerable personal transformation. So to answer the question, I am feeling great when it is not about me.

I suppose when you focus too much on you, you get in trouble. The beauty of life isn’t about you or about me. If we focus too much on ourselves, we’ll either end up feeling too narcissistic and eventually build up false expectations and this will bring us further away from our true self-worth. During the reality check our whole system will collapse, because the foundations weren’t real. Or we’ll end up judging every little piece until despair and hopelessness. We’ll again build up false expectations that will disable and prevent all our future possibilities.

Remove the “I”. It will make your life much simpler. When you remove the I, you begin to notice similarities between those around you. Everybody is afraid. Everybody struggles. There is no such thing as a perfect life. We don’t have it easy. Nobody has it easy. And we are in this together.

Seeing human misery awakens compassion. Those who are desperate to show how awesome their life is, are often the most miserable. Try catching the wind or try to classify clouds according to their shape. You’ll surely fail. However you can easily learn to enjoy the ride and view. But you can’t do that if you want to be in control.

Stop trying. Let go. Stop asking the wrong questions. Or go to coaching to learn how to ask the right ones 🙂



Original picture borrowed from Plant based on a budget.

Get over yourself: You’re Not Special

Dear reader,

I see quite some number of students in one-on-one sessions. Many of them are quite miserable, especially freshmen and fresh graduates. They have problems in decision making, with procrastination, concentration, problems with relationships, bad habits or problems related to their socio-economic situation. But most of them are quite unhappy, they feel trapped, disappointed, sometimes even bored and sick of everything. They want something big to happen in their life, they are waiting for their breakthrough and somehow nothing happens. They want to dream and achieve big, but someting goes wrong. Why does everybody have a better life than I have? Everybody travels, everybody has 500 likes on facebook, everybody has better times than I have. I hate my life, my body, my friends, nothing really matters to me, they say sometimes.

Of course most of them are doing great in sessions eventually, but before the change can happen, they need to swallow a huge piece of fact most of them did not see coming. The fact that they are not special.

It hurts knowing that you actually don’t stand out of the crowd. It hurts like hell to confess that you might actually be “just” the average. The thing is that many of these young people were brought up by permissive parenting, without borders and with self esteem boosters, which was a mantra through the last 20 or 30 years. It’s neither their fault, nor their parent’s.  It was Zeitgeist. But what happens with youngsters who were told that they were perfect?  That they were special? First, they have hard time to learn respect for others. Second, they  are waiting to be served, because that’s what they are used to. Third, eventually they grow up. And as they do, they become miserable, because the big breakthrough they were waiting for, doesn’t happen. They start getting bad grades and blame their professors. They drop out of university and they blame their parents or the school system. They don’t get jobs and they blame the employers. I’m not saying it isn’t partly on other stakeholder’s shoulders, just want to illustrate that it’s always somebody else’s fault and never theirs.

In the crowd where everybody was told to be perfect and special, suddenly there isn’t anything special about being special. Realising this hurts. So what happens is that they wait, thinking “Sure, we’re not that perfect and not everybody can be”, but secretly they think: “but I am an exception.” Sorry, sadly, you’re 99% not. No, you’re not that 1 percent.

Neither am I, or is your neighbour, a friend, your boss, our president, that popstar on youtube. Most of us are just average. And there’s nothing bad about that, because that binds us; that unites us. In the world imbued with individualism and competition it is long forgotten what collectivity looks like. This might be one tiny reminder that we’re all in this together. And that’s okay. Others are miserable too. So don’t make their life even more miserable. When you suffer, look in the eyes of others. They are suffering too. We all want to be accepted, appreciated, loved. And we all deserve this. That’s actually the slogan of our fb page. We deserve this. But we are nothing special.

So as soon as you realize the bigger picture and forget about yourself a little bit, you are awarded immensely. You are able to breathe. You no longer feel pressured to perform. No longer have to compare to others. No longer have to worry whether you’ll manage. Because you can trust that you will, somehow. You have done it before and you can do it again. Only this time without this overwhelming feeling of self-care, self confidence, self image, self pride and stupid self-help industry products and inventions.

You are great. And so are others. Stop comparing, because you’re no better than they are. Or worse. We’re in this together.


None of these beans were anything special. But together they made a perfect salad.